Stephen Downes, partly in response to Anya Kamenetz DIY U report and her critique of the readability of his works by the general public (“I’ve never read anything you’ve written (and yes, I’ve read plenty of your writing) that would be particularly useful, comprehensible or interesting to a bright 19 year old like Weezie, much less a 64 year old trying to earn a community college degree, like Melvin Doran, the LearnerWeb participant”), has released a document on Free Learning (.pdf). This paper covers a wide territory of Downes’ work in open education, covering almost a decade. It includes a few classics (to the degree that our field has classics), such as his discussion with Dave Tosh (co-founder of Elgg) on the role of openness in economics or earning a living and numerous encounters with David Wiley. I was surprised, on reading this compilation, how often Stephen writes in response to views of others – he’s much more engaged in the conversation around technology in education than the broadcast model of OLDaily suggests. He frequently finds someone who is wrong on the internet.
Rory McGreal and I are teaching a course in Openness in Education in the MDE program at Athabasca in early 2012. This will be a good resource for learners to explore in tracking the conversation around openness from a Downsian point of view.